This report examines how some of our macro trends—Peer Power, Predictive Personalization and Hyper-Personalization—are influencing the travel category.
It also spotlights Millennial travelers, whose tastes are influencing the travel industry in a number of ways, and includes a wide-ranging rundown of more than 20 Things to Watch in travel, from Holographic Concierges to Transient Hotels.
“Travel: Changing Course” includes data from a survey we conducted in the U.S. and the U.K. in November 2012, as well as input from experts and influencers in the travel, investment and marketing sectors.
3Executive SummaryPeer-Powered TravelHyper-Personalized TravelMillennials on the RoadThings to WatchAppendix: More About Our Experts/InfluencersWHAT WE’LL COVER
3EXECUTIVE SUMMARYThe world is on the move: 2012 saw a record-breaking 1 billion international travelers, accordingto the U.N. World Tourism Organization. But while international travel continues to grow at asteady pace—with 4% growth worldwide last year and a slightly lower forecast for this year—thecategory is in flux.One disruptive force will be the peer-to-peer marketplace. While P2P companies may beexpanding the market for travel, services like Airbnb are also putting the squeeze on traditionalservice providers. For an overview of this new sector, we spotlight 20-plus services focused onP2P hospitality, experiences and transportation. And with the peer-powered economy about toreach critical mass, we look at how established brands can maintain their ground or even findnew opportunities.Another macro trend starting to reshape the travel sector is the rise of hyper-personalization:Today’s travelers expect highly personalized experiences and customer service—thanks in part tothe rise of customization and personalized suggestions online—and the industry is starting todeliver on this expectation, armed with Big Data and insights gleaned from social media. We lookat some ways in which brands are fine-tuning offerings around individual customers, and whatthis development means for marketers.
3EXECUTIVE SUMMARYWe also take a look at Millennial travelers, whose adventurous and social approach to travel isalready influencing the travel industry in a number of ways. Plus: a wide-ranging rundown ofThings to Watch in travel, from Holographic Concierges to Transient Hotels.Note: This report builds on our ―Rebooting Travel‖ report from 2011, which focuses on the tech-enabled traveler. That report examines how the smartphone is coming to replace guidebooks andmaps, serving as a one-stop shop that connects travelers with their surroundings, each other andtravel brands; how today’s hyper-connected and mobile-enabled vacationers are sharing in realtime, which amplifies the experience and enables easy bragging; and how vacationers areincreasingly seeking to de-tech, putting aside technology as part of their break from day-to-daylife. Find it via the trend reports page at JWTIntelligence.com.
3METHODOLOGYThis report is the result of quantitative, qualitative and desk research conducted byJWTIntelligence throughout the year.It includes data from a survey we conducted in the U.S. and the U.K. from Nov. 9–19, 2012, inwhich we polled 1,016 adults aged 18-plus (519 Americans and 497 Britons). Data are weightedby age and gender (in some cases, calculation of averages based off reported frequencies maynot add up due to this weighting).It also includes input from three experts and influencers in the travel, investment and marketingsectors.*See Appendix to learn more about these experts and influencers.
Image credit: Vladimir YaitskiyPEER-POWEREDTRAVELAs the peer-to-peer marketplace expands in size and scope—moving beyondgoods to a wide range of services—it will increasingly upend the hospitality,tourism and transportation industries.
PEER-POWERED TRAVEL3Cooperative ConsumptionSocial mediaThe Trust EconomyEconomicsMillennialsDistrust in institutionsCraving authenticityDRIVERSBack in ’99, we [at Half.com]were trying to start up aneasier way for people to buyand sell used books, music,movies and games to eachother. No one thought it wouldever work. … What’s different now is thatthere are billions of people online, andthey’re organizing and connecting andengaging through social media, and thatchanges everything. And it unleashes a lot ofopportunity and a lot of companies.‖—CHRIS FRALIC, partner, First Round Capital
This movement is being drivenby an interest in supportinglocal communities and artisans,and knowing more about thepeople behind the things webuy. It’s a shift away from themass-market efficiency, ease and low-costmindset that has dominated the past couple ofdecades. Life came in a more packaged form—everything from food to your vacation.Increasingly, people want to experience theunique gems [while traveling].‖—VIPIN GOYAL, co-founder and CEO, SideTourPEER-POWERED TRAVELCooperative ConsumptionSocial mediaThe Trust EconomyEconomicsMillennialsDistrust in institutionsCraving authenticityDRIVERS (cont’d.)
Peer-to-peer lodging companies are challenging traditional hotels by offering a wider variety ofaccommodations—from a couch to a room to full homes—at generally lower prices. Couchsurfing,initially run as a nonprofit, launched the idea of strangers hosting travelers nearly a decade ago.MANIFESTATIONS: P2P hospitalityClaims to be the Europeanleader in private short-termrentals, having recentlyacquired Airbnb rivaliStopOver.Connects travelers looking foraccommodations with peoplewho have rooms, apartments orhomes (and houseboats andtreehouses) to rent.Enables people to rent theirbackyards as what it calls―micro-campsites.‖The Craigslist of travel connectshosts with travelers looking fora free bed or couch.An Airbnb imitator and one ofthe largest European players inthis space.PEER-POWERED TRAVEL
Peer-to-peer lodging companies are challenging traditional hotels by offering a wider variety ofaccommodations—from a couch to a room to full homes—at generally lower prices. Couchsurfing,initially run as a nonprofit, launched the idea of strangers hosting travelers nearly a decade ago.MANIFESTATIONS: P2P hospitality (cont’d.)Marketplace for vacationhome rentals, connectingtravelers with homeownersand property managementcompanies.A gay-friendly version ofAirbnb, for hosts who are gayor welcoming of gay visitors.Caters to mid- to high-endbusiness travelers looking foralternatives to traditionalhotels. Properties are―professionally managed.‖PEER-POWERED TRAVEL
A crop of startups promise travelers a local’s-eye-view of a city or an otherwise unique experience.MANIFESTATIONS: P2P experiencesFounded by a Japan-bornentrepreneur (the name means―to be a guide‖ in Japanese),Shiroube connects anyoneinterested in acting as a travelguide with travelers looking forpersonalized tours.Offers offbeat experiencesaround the world: e.g.,members have booked stayson Alcatraz Island in SanFrancisco and a fishing tripin Fiji with a local king.Promises ―amazing experiences that can’t be foundanywhere else‖: e.g., hire a former CIA disguisetechnician for a crash course in creating disguises orsit in on a professional break dancing practice session.PEER-POWERED TRAVELFocuses on experiences offered by―real people,‖ who are encouraged tomonetize their expertise for areasonable fee and advertise theiractivities through social networks.Relies on a network of ―SoulMates‖ to advise travelers onthe best places to visit, eat,drink, etc.
Shared transport covers everything from cars to boats and planes. In some cases companies arefocused on filling empty seats (in cars, on planes), while in other cases the vehicle or boat itself isshared. While some ride-share-service drivers are professionals, many are simply seeking to earnextra cash, help the environment or meet new people.MANIFESTATIONS: P2P transportationPEER-POWERED TRAVELA ―people-powered transportnetwork‖ that matches payingpassengers with seats in cars;pitched as a new, affordableway to tour Europe. Memberscan post how social they wantto be, from Bla to BlaBla toBlaBlaBla.A P2P version of Zipcar.Members can rent othermembers’ cars via iPhone orthe Web.A P2P ride-sharing servicewhose business model is similarto SideCar’s. Accepts―donations‖ (average amount:$10) rather than fares fromriders.This ―community-based, real-timeridesharing marketplace‖ relies ona mobile app to match peopleseeking rides with those who haveextra space in their cars.Spinlister connects riders withbikes for rent, ―whether fromindividuals or existing bikerental shops.‖
Shared transport covers everything from cars to boats and planes. In some cases companies arefocused on filling empty seats (in cars, on planes), while in other cases the vehicle or boat itself isshared. While some ride-share-service drivers are professionals, many are simply seeking to earnextra cash, help the environment or meet new people.MANIFESTATIONS: P2P transportation (cont’d.)PEER-POWERED TRAVELAllows travelers who leave avehicle at airport parking torent it to incoming travelers.Renters are screened, and allcars insured up to $1 million.One of several boat-sharing P2Pservices, Boatbound isaccepting requests for earlyinvitations. Differentiates itselfby offering $1 million in Lloyd’sinsurance coverage. Says theaverage boat owner uses thevessel only 14 days a year.Connects flyers with private jetowners, operators and charterslooking to fill unused seats. Incontrast to other jet-sharingnetworks, does not charge amembership fee. Peoplelooking to join are vetted bycustomer service reps.
Websites like Meetup.com have established the idea of using online tools to connect like-mindedpeople in real life. Now, a niche set of travelers is using P2P apps, sites and services to makeconnections on the go.MANIFESTATIONS: P2P social connectionsPEER-POWERED TRAVELSimilar to KLM’s Meet & Seat: Letsflyers upload itineraries via TripIt,then connects users to people withintheir Facebook or LinkedIn networkswho are on the same flights.Helps users find travel partners forlong-haul or adventure trips. Travelerslist trip details and rank the excursionon a 1-5 scale in terms of difficulty,culture shock, remoteness and risk.Enables women traveling alone tomeet other women (travelers orlocals) for dinner so they don’t haveto venture into restaurants alone.Designed for users to ―share a drink with anattractive stranger in the totally safeenvironment of a public airport.‖ Memberprofiles resemble dating-site profiles, but thesite says members might also meet forcompanionship or simply to pass the time.
3As P2P companies begin to disrupt major industries, many established players will turn toexisting laws and regulations to limit their growth. But there are alternative (or parallel)paths that big brands can take that are less knee-jerk and more forward-thinking. For one,they can use the emergence of this new competitive set as an opportunity to rethink howthey operate or position their B2C businesses in this growing P2P economy. And they canexamine what kinds of new behaviors and expectations the P2P model is creating amongconsumers and start delivering against those.Embrace the P2P era: Rather than fear or fight the encroachment of this newcompetition, established brands can embrace this development in a variety of ways. Perhapsthe easiest is to partner with peer-powered businesses in the same or related categories.Taking it one step further, brands can add a P2P element to their business or launch abusiness line that addresses a newly created demand or challenge to their industry.In partnering with these upstarts or launching their own version of a P2P service, establishedbrands can infuse freshness or modernity into their persona, broaden their appeal and/or getan existing consumer segment to look at them in an interesting new light. Initiatives such asthis also provide the opportunity to learn more about the audience, inner workings, andstrengths and weaknesses of P2P enterprises.WHAT IT MEANSPEER-POWERED TRAVEL
3Take inspiration from the P2P model: Whether or not brands partner with P2P servicesor add P2P elements, the P2P model can suggest new, more innovative approaches: Are thereways to take inspiration from the things consumers like most about P2P services? And arethere ways to leverage digital technologies designed to match supply with demand,consumers’ rising trust of strangers and proclivity for sharing, micro-entrepreneurs and soforth in order to better cater to consumers or market existing services?For instance, P2P companies thrive on utilizing idle assets, a supply (of cars, rooms,downtime, etc.) that can be activated at a low marginal cost and generate significantmarginal revenue. Traditional businesses can employ P2P technology to optimize existingcapacity and become more efficient.P2P services also strip out the middlemen and/or various overhead costs, often providingmore for less. So traditional businesses will need to find ways to either do likewise or providelower-cost options that do away with some amenities or restrict the offering in some way.Many businesses are built around models formulated in a pre-digital era when consumers hadvery different mindsets—models that will need to be tweaked, if not shaken up altogether.WHAT IT MEANS (cont’d.)PEER-POWERED TRAVEL
3Build in more authenticexperiences: One of the strengths ofthe P2P economy lies in its ability todeliver authenticity, local flavor andidiosyncrasy—attributes that appeal to agrowing subset of consumers, especiallyMillennials, who seek out one-of-a-kind,share-worthy experiences and shy awayfrom anything that comes across asprepackaged, cookie-cutter or toostandardized. Big brands need to look forunique ways to build these attributesinto their services, without it feelingforced or too inauthentic.WHAT IT MEANS (cont’d.)PEER-POWERED TRAVELAirbnb and similar servicesallow for their own nativeexperiences, where you’rein the fabric of the city ina way that you’re notwhen you’re in a hotel. ...It’s kind of like the differencebetween taking a plane and taking atrain: The train brings you right into theheart of the city, and the plane puts youinto the ugliest part of the city, justbecause they had to put an airportthere.‖—LISA GANSKY, author, The Mesh: Why the Futureof Business Is Sharing
3Facilitate the impulse to connect and share: Consumers increasingly are open totrading goods and services with strangers, from lodging to meals. Brands will need to tailortheir selling strategies to accommodate this high-tech bartering culture. Hall St., forinstance, enables hotel guests to trade reservations, bypassing the hotel itself in the process(Hall St. takes care of the changes). Hotel brands could re-insert themselves into the processand facilitate behaviors that are already taking place, potentially winning brand loyalty.WHAT IT MEANS (cont’d.)PEER-POWERED TRAVELImage credit: Hall St.
3Millennials will drive adoption, but don’t overlook their elders: As our surveyshowed, Millennials are most open to and enthusiastic about the P2P marketplace. But themarket will draw in consumers across all segments. Some may be driven by the affordability,others by the novelty aspect, others by practical concerns. In imagining beyond the P2Pearly-adopter crowd, brands (both P2P and B2C) can find untapped opportunities.Play to your strengths: For all their appeal, P2P markets have their inherent weaknesses,including inconsistent service or quality, cloudy value propositions and the need to deal withstrangers, an issue that will continue to discomfort a significant segment of consumers.Beyond the matter of trust, some people will inevitably feel awkward doing business withpeers. Established brands can leverage these negatives by emphasizing that working with amore traditional, trusted business can be easier, more convenient, less awkward and evenmore affordable than choosing a peer-provided service.WHAT IT MEANS (cont’d.)PEER-POWERED TRAVEL
3Are there benefits to partnering with P2P hospitality platforms such as Airbnb?Is there a service you can launch that addresses needs currently being fulfilled byP2P challengers in travel?Are there ways to take inspiration from the things consumers like most about P2Ptravel services?Since some consumers buy into P2P services for their local flavor andauthenticity, how can you play up those attributes in your brand experience?Can you incorporate P2P technology into your model, as either an alternative oradd-on to your current business?THOUGHT STARTERSPEER-POWERED TRAVEL
3Is there a consumer who would benefit from a P2P service but is currently beingoverlooked by the market?What strengths can you play up to differentiate your B2C brand in a positive way?If P2P companies are directly challenging your business, what can you offer thatis not available or guaranteed through these new channels? Can you highlightexisting offerings that help distinguish your business from P2P services?THOUGHT STARTERS (cont’d.)PEER-POWERED TRAVEL
HYPER-PERSONALIZEDTRAVELImage credit: Porto Bay TradeConsumers are coming to expect highly personalized services, and thetravel industry is starting to respond by fine-tuning offerings aroundindividual customers.
3Predictive PersonalizationConsumers living publiclyImpatience with Web toolsMe-centric consumersTravel category gets tougherCompanies shift from reactive toproactive information gatheringDRIVERSHYPER-PERSONALIZED TRAVELFor hotel companies, social mediahas essentially become asanctioned form of eavesdropping. ... Intoday’s social-mediated paradigm, whereineveryone lives in public, all guests can betreated like celebrities.”—―What your hotel knows about you,‖Travel + Leisure, February 2013Image credit: Portugal2004
3Predictive PersonalizationConsumers living publiclyImpatience with Web toolsMe-centric consumersTravel category gets tougherCompanies shift from reactive toproactive information gatheringDRIVERS (cont’d.)HYPER-PERSONALIZED TRAVELImage credit: Jonno Witts
3Predictive PersonalizationConsumers living publiclyImpatience with Web toolsMe-centric consumersTravel category gets tougherCompanies shift from reactive toproactive information gatheringDRIVERS (cont’d.)HYPER-PERSONALIZED TRAVELImage credit: Matt McGee
MANIFESTATIONS: Hyper-personalized customer service/interactionBritish Airways, “Know Me”: British Airways spent several years gatheringpassenger data from many sources into one database before launching itspersonalized-service program aimed at VIP and frequent fliers in 2012. Asexamples, crew might pay extra attention to a first-time business-classcustomer (demonstrating how to use the seat, for instance) or fuss over afrequent business traveler who is on a personal trip.—SIMON TALLING-SMITH, EVP of the Americas,British Airways “British Airways gets morepersonal,” USA Today, July 8, 2012We put this program together sowe can demonstrate to frequentcustomers that we do know them andcan anticipate their needs and deliverthe service they expect.”HYPER-PERSONALIZED TRAVELImage credit: British Airways
Disney’s MyMagic+: The Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando is rolling outMagicBands, wristbands equipped with RFID chips. Guests using the wristbandswill be able to personalize their experience by first inputting their informationinto a website or app. Then, for instance, Cinderella might say to a child, ―Hi,Angie. I hear it’s your birthday.‖ And as guests queue up for the new LittleMermaid ride, a robotic Scuttle, the seagull character, may chat directly withMagicBand wearers. The wristbands will also enable ride reservations, paymentsand act as keys for guest staying at Disney hotels.HYPER-PERSONALIZED TRAVELMANIFESTATIONS: Hyper-personalized customer service/interaction (cont’d.)Image credit: Disney
Fine-tuned dining: With the help ofsoftware and Internet companiessuch as OpenTable and Urbanspoon,restaurants are logging detaileddata on customer preferences—everything from food allergies to anaffinity for crushed or cubed ice.Patrons can then have their needscatered to without having to ask;diners may even visit a restaurantfor the first time yet be treated likea regular, since establishmentsunder the same ownership generallyshare data.HYPER-PERSONALIZED TRAVELMANIFESTATIONS: Hyper-personalized customer service/interaction (cont’d.)Image credit: Urbanspoon
HYPER-PERSONALIZED TRAVELMANIFESTATIONS: Hyper-personalized customer service/interaction (cont’d.)Luxury hotels researching every guest like a VIP: It’s long been an open secret in luxurytravel that hotels research VIP guests online to help staff recognize them and to use relevantpersonal details to create ―opportunities to surprise and delight,‖ as high-end hoteliers are fondof saying. For instance, staff at Accor hotel properties (which include Sofitel and Novotelhotels) check public social media profiles of loyalty club members before they arrive, thenpresent customized gifts when they check in, such as a behind-the-scenes tour of Tru in Chicagofor a foodie guest or VIP hockey tickets for a sports fan.Image credits: bizbuzzmedia; aprilandrandy
HYPER-PERSONALIZED TRAVELLibra OnDemand: This company providescustomer relationship management forhospitality companies, trawling socialmedia data to create a ―complete 360-degree view of each customer.‖ Thisservice provides hotels with ―intuitive‖information for all clients, not just theVIPs previously profiled via manualsearches. High-end hotels like the Surreyin New York and the Viceroy Group haveadopted the service, as well asconvention hotels and even Red Roof Innsand Holiday Inns.MANIFESTATIONS: Hyper-personalized customer service/interaction (cont’d.)Image credit: Libra OnDemand
WHAT IT MEANSHYPER-PERSONALIZED TRAVELToday’s traveler, accustomed to a hyper-personalized digital experience, is coming to expectthe same in real life and during their travels. While some brands have been hyper-personalizing service for the most loyal customers for a while, the advent of Big Data toolswill help enable this to a far more extensive degree.While Big Data has the potential to transform all industries, some analysts believe the travelsector could feel the greatest impact, and sooner than others. Travel companies are alreadyarmed with an array of data about their users, from VIP and loyalty programs. Yet manytravel brands are just starting to put this information to good use. Given the rise of the me-centric traveler, companies will need to connect all the dots to create individualizedexperiences.The challenge will be to identify not only broad patterns of behavior but individual ones aswell. Once armed with these insights, marketers can then tailor offers, messaging, customerservice and more. Savvy brands will be able to address needs as they arise, perhaps evenbefore travelers seek solutions. This brings an unprecedented level of personal service andattention to travelers, something they increasingly expect—but there’s a line beyond whichmost will feel spooked. Marketers will need to assuage privacy concerns and show how theiruse of data benefits the consumer.
WHAT IT MEANS (cont’d.)HYPER-PERSONALIZED TRAVELMake transactions more personal: As more of our world becomes digitized, anonymous,automated and virtual, consumers are craving a more human touch. For the travel sector, itwill be a matter of balancing technology-based solutions that help save time when it comesto checkout, ordering, ticketing and the like with the hands-on service that make guests feelpampered and catered to. Paradoxically, consumers are more apt to find this online—withpersonalized suggestions on sites such as Netflix and Amazon—than in the real world. Mosttravelers get the same generic experience as everyone else, even members of loyaltyprograms. By amalgamating various data streams, travel brands can start offering thetailored recommendations and attention that consumers take for granted online.Using data to build consumer profiles can take the anonymity out of interactions with abrand, improving customer service. New tool sets will help marketers expand personalizedtreatment beyond loyal customers of one locale or brand—as we’re seeing with restaurantsunder common ownership that pool data to offer tailored dining experiences.
WHAT IT MEANS (cont’d.)HYPER-PERSONALIZED TRAVELTread carefully around privacyconcerns: While travelers will come toexpect more individualized attention—especially the youngest cohort, whoalready consider personalization thenorm—they will nonetheless take sometime to adjust to the idea that marketersknow a great deal about their lives andcan predict their needs.After British Airways announced its ―KnowMe‖ program, for instance, a slew ofconsumer critics called it an invasion ofprivacy, objecting especially to thecompany’s hunting for online informationabout users.
THOUGHT STARTERSHow can you use public information about your customers to create hyper-personalized experiences?How can you earn travelers’ trust so they are open to opting in to loyaltyprograms and other means of collecting behavioral data?Are there ways to better personalize the online experience?What are some unique ways your brand can put data to use to make the offlineexperience better for your guests?HYPER-PERSONALIZED TRAVEL
MILLENNIALSON THE ROADImage credit: Lauren ManningMillennial travelers, who have grown up in a globally connected world,are eager to explore the globe. Known for their boundless optimism,today’s 18- to 34-year-olds are exceptionally open to new adventures andunique, immersive experiences, including those that may challenge theiroften-limited budgets.
MILLENNIALS ON THE ROADWhile many can’t afford as much leisuretravel as they’d like, Millennials displayremarkable ingenuity in getting what theywant by using online deal sites,recommendations from social networks,travel apps and crowdsourced reviewsites.Amenities-laden hotels, at a value price,appeal to their idea of enjoying the bestof everything—preferably tailored to theirpreferences.Image credit: SimplyLuxuryTravel
MILLENNIALS ON THE ROADThey assess their experiences with anespecially critical eye, ready to shareopinions with social networks and reviewsites. When these travelers have acomplaint, they’re more apt to post it onTwitter before, or instead of, telling thehotel manager. (Starwood Hotels andResorts Worldwide, among others, nowemploys a team of people to monitor andpost responses to such criticisms.) In turn,they look to social networks and reviewsites for guidance.
MILLENNIALS ON THE ROADWhen flying for business, Millennials want to be comfortable and connected,enabling them to be productive or entertained while en route.Image credits: Ullisan, Tom Mascardo 3
MILLENNIALS ON THE ROADThe decision-making process:Millennials are more apt than oldergenerations to use mobile apps and onlineaggregator sites to make travelarrangements. These tools help them booktravel on their own terms, in a way thatfits seamlessly into their schedules.Millennials rely more heavily on usercomments and online content whenbooking travel than older counterparts.Bad reviews from friends can quicklycome to light thanks to the social graphlaid across the Web, and this virtuallyguarantees Millennials will lookelsewhere.Image credit: TripAdvisor
MILLENNIALS ON THE ROADWhat Millennials are looking for: All-inclusive package deals that provide anupscale experience without leavingtravelers feeling nickel-and-dimed forevery little ―extra‖ speak to Millennials’sense of value and fairness.An offbeat place to stay found on Airbnbor unusual activities booked through P2Pservices like Vayable appeal to Millennials’desire to avoid impersonal service and thestandard experience. The story of theunusual trip is a prize unto itself.Image credit: Vayable
MILLENNIALS ON THE ROADTravel brands that are addressing their needs: Brands are starting to provideever more options, catering to the Millennial desire for a more customizedexperience.Hilton’s luxury Conrad chain offers threedifferent brands of toiletries and lets guestschoose which they prefer. New hotel brands such as Moxy, a partnershipbetween Marriott and Ikea, and Starwood’strendsetting hotel chain Aloft offer style and ascene at an affordable price.W Hotels’ ―W Happenings‖ concert and eventseries is a way for the luxury chain to become asocial destination as much as a place to stay.Image credits: Conrad Hotels; Moxy Hotels; Virgin Atlantic
THINGSTO WATCHImage credit: Paul LowryOver the following pages, these 20-plus Things to Watch offer a quickrundown of a wide range of developments in travel, from innovative techtools and services to new categories of hotels to the next hot vacationtheme.
AIRPORTS AS DESTINATIONS3 GENERATION GODRIVERS (cont’d.)Image credit: IkeaTravelers are spending more time inairports, and airports are providingmoney-generating ways to spend thattime. USA Today reports that Vancouver isplanning a 400,000-square-foot luxuryoutlet mall for its airport. Hong Kong’sairport now has an IMAX movie theater.Dusseldorf International Airport, includesa pharmacy, dentist, hairdresser andpostal services at the info desk. LosAngeles International Airport hasrestaurants run by celebrity chefMasaharu Morimoto as well as a golfcourse next door. And last year, Ikeainstalled a temporary family-friendlylounge in France’s Roissy-Charles deGaulle Airport with comfy sofas and evenbeds to nap on.
BYOD (BRING YOUR OWN DEVICE)3 GENERATION GODRIVERS (cont’d.)Image credit: airfax.comWith the mobile device now an EverythingHub and content accessible through thecloud, businesses must adapt to BYODculture. Airlines including Virgin America,American Airlines and Lufthansaare offering audio and video via Wi-Fi forthose who eschew the seat-back screen infavor of their own. Likewise, some hotelsare enabling guests to watch pay-per-viewmovies on their own devices as well as theroom’s TV; network bandwidth that canhandle guests streaming video is becomingincreasingly important.
CHEAP CHIC HOTELS AND HOSTELS3 GENERATION GODRIVERS (cont’d.)Image credit: citizenMHotel chains are taking a page from Ikea,Target and H&M and deliveringcontemporary design at a cost-sensitiveprice. Starwood’s Aloft hotels helpeddefine the trend with open, club-likelobbies that feature lighting changesthroughout the day, free bottled waterand fast Wi-Fi. At citizenM hotels inAmsterdam, Glasgow and London, guestscheck in at self-serve kiosks, which saveson front-desk staff, engaging thewandering ―ambassador‖ if they haveproblems.
CONSCIOUS-LUXE3 GENERATION GODRIVERS (cont’d.)Image credits: The-Lane-Team; mauriciopadovani―Eco-hotel‖ once suggested huts on thebeach in Costa Rica with no running wateror electricity. Now guests might stay at aneco-hotel without knowing it. Take theLEED Platinum-certified Leela Palacehotel in New Delhi—built at a reportedcost of nearly $400 million and fit for amaharaja—or the upcoming Singita MaraRiver Tented Camp in Tanzania, builtlargely of natural and recycled materialsand completely off the grid, yet iscomplete with a swimming pool, otheramenities and a custom-designed solarsystem for power.
DIGITAL-INTO-PHYSICAL POSTCARDS3 GENERATION GODRIVERS (cont’d.)Image credit: PostagramVarious services allow vacationers andothers to turn digital snapshots into snail-mailed postcards. Tools like Sincerely’sPostagram app and Postcard on the Run(―Technology delivered the old-fashionedway‖) satisfy today’s rising appreciationfor physical objects and slower forms ofcommunication.
THE DOCUMENTARY TRAVELER3 GENERATION GODRIVERS (cont’d.)Image credit: Ushuaïa Ibiza Beach HotelAs more travelers chart their trips onsocial sites, travel companies are startingto make tweeting, Instagramming andposting easier and more automatic.Spain’s Ushuaïa Ibiza Beach Hotel letsguests share their clubbing experience onFacebook by scanning RFID-enabledwristbands at kiosks throughout thevenue; the hotel is planning an upgradethat will rely on fingerprint recognition.
HOLOGRAPHIC CONCIERGES3 GENERATION GODRIVERS (cont’d.)Image credit: IberiaAiming to offer memorable (and sociallyshareable) novelty, high-tech design andattentive customer service with nomanpower cost, travel providers arecreating digital avatars to serve as humanassistants. Starwood’s hip, affordableAloft-branded hotels introducedholographic greeters/concierges in late2011 to orient guests on hotel featuresand nearby shopping and dining. Severalairports have added holographicassistants, and Iberia has two holographic―virtual agents‖ at its hub in Madrid toprovide information about using check-inkiosks and boarding procedures.
HOPPER3 GENERATION GODRIVERS (cont’d.)Image credit: HopperThis buzzed-about booking site aims to bea one-stop-shop for all travel planningneeds. In development since 2007, Hopperhas raised a total of $22 million in fundingand counts a number of travel industryheavyweights on its executive team,including a former employee fromTripAdvisor and ex-Expedia engineers.Built on big data and sophisticatedalgorithms, the forthcoming service aimsto aggregate and catalog fragmentedtravel information from across the Web tocreate a discovery and recommendationengine. Users will be able to search for allthe information they need based only on―a vague idea‖ like ―Mediterraneancruise,‖ according to the site.
HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY WORKS TO STAY FIT3 GENERATION GODRIVERS (cont’d.)Image credit: Even HotelsThe hospitality industry is rolling out newand more varied options for fitness on thego. The prime example is Even Hotels, amiddle-market fitness-oriented franchisethat InterContinental Hotels Group plansto debut in New York City in 2014.Amenities will include a large gym, guestrooms outfitted with fitness walls and/orexercise balls, and quick-turnaroundlaundry service for gym clothes, accordingto USA Today. Yoga is becoming a popularamenity: Several hotel chains—includingSingapore-based COMO Hotels andResorts, Kimpton Hotels and AffiniaHotels—offer yoga equipment,instructional videos or classes, and moreare joining them.
HOTELS IN AFRICA3 GENERATION GODRIVERS (cont’d.)Image credit: MarriottDriven largely by an explosion in businesstravel to Africa, international hotel brandsare racing to expand their portfolios.Marriott plans to open a property inKigali, Rwanda’s capital, in 2013 and aimsto grow its African properties sixfold by2020. French hotel group Accor is planningto add almost 5,000 rooms in 30 hotels by2016, and Starwood intends to open 10African hotels in the next three years.
INSTA-CATIONS3 GENERATION GODRIVERS (cont’d.)Image credit: Tambako the JaguarStaycations have been popular since the2008 recession, but many of today’sconsumers—ever more budget-consciousand overworked—will opt for quick,affordable bursts of fun in lieu of longerexcursions or breaks. People looking toinject fun into their lives will seek thetype of unusual one-off experiences andmini-vacations they’ve been finding onsome deal sites, the more novel andadventurous the better.
LIVE-STREAMING LIFE3 GENERATION GODRIVERS (cont’d.)Image credit: GoProMemories will be live-streamed in realtime. The newest super-compact videocamera from GoPro is 30% smaller and 25%lighter than its predecessors—a big sellingpoint for the skiers, divers and otherextreme sports enthusiasts who love todocument their exploits—and includesbuilt-in Wi-Fi, enabling live-streaming offootage. Users can also control thecamera remotely using a smartphone app.
NATURE AS ANTIDOTE3 GENERATION GODRIVERS (cont’d.)Image credit: Marian BerelowitzWith urbanization rising steadily—todaymore than half the world’s population livesin cities, compared to less than 40% in1990—more people will retreat to natureto escape the pressures, noise, pollution,traffic and other stressors of the city. We’llalso see this urge manifest in other waystoo, from an embrace of natural, organicelements in décor to ever more nature-themed entertainment programming.
POLITICAL VACATIONS3 GENERATION GODRIVERS (cont’d.)Image credit: Political ToursAffluent travelers are seeking new kinds ofstatus trips, as embodied by Political Toursof the U.K., which offers clients ―currentaffairs at first hand.‖ This includes a tourof Northern Ireland led by BBCcorrespondents and trips to hot spotsincluding Georgia, North Korea, Libya andKosovo—many curated by political expertswith insights into the region.
REAL-TIME TRANSLATION3 GENERATION GODRIVERS (cont’d.)Image credit: GizmodoApp creators are looking for new ways tobreak through language barriers withsoftware that translates two-wayconversations in near-real time. Examplesinclude Jibbigo, which translates typed andspoken words; Vocre, which can handle 36languages; Sakhr, which translates Arabic;and Word Lens, which translates typedwords into English from Spanish, French,Italian and German or vice versa.Samsung’s Galaxy S4 comes with the ―STranslator,‖ which can translate ninelanguages from speech to text or text tospeech, as well as email and textmessages.
RIVER CRUISING3 GENERATION GOImage credit: Voyages of DiscoveryRiver cruising is slated to make a splash inthe travel industry. In 2012, for instance,British cruise brands Voyages of Discoveryand Hebridean Island Cruises bothintroduced river cruises. Other companiesare adding river cruise itinerariesworldwide, as well as new ships.
SET JETTING3 GENERATION GOImage credit: Hobbiton Movie Set ToursNew Zealand has seen a 50% spike intourist visits since The Lord of the Ringsdebuted in 2001; now The Hobbit isexpected to bring even more travelers tothe Pacific nation. Long popular amongfilm fanatics, ―set jetting‖ will becomemore mainstream, especially as more sitesstart to tout their Hollywood connections.As part of the promotion for 50 years ofJames Bond films, the stars madeappearances at set locations around theU.K. in 2012. In 2013, Life of Pi (filmed inIndia) and The Lone Ranger (the AmericanWest) are expected to help draw visitors tofilming locales.
SHOPPING HOTELS3 GENERATION GOImage credit: PullmanIn Middle Eastern countries including theU.A.E., Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Egypt andBahrain, megamalls with hotels in themare fueling a tourism recovery after theArab Spring of 2011 took a toll. A Sheratonwill open in Dubai’s Mall of the Emiratesin 2013, and the upcoming Yas Mall in AbuDhabi will house seven hotels.
SMARTER CHECK-INS3 GENERATION GOImage credit: QantasHotels, airlines and airports are using RFIDand NFC, combined with customerphones, to smooth and speed up thecheck-in. France’s Toulouse-Blagnacairport is aiming to use NFC to enabletravelers to ―pass seamlessly through theairport using just their mobile phones.‖Qantas’ frequent flyers get a RFID-enabledcard that functions as a boarding pass;they use it to check in at a kiosk uponarrival, then flight details are sent totheir phone. (Qantas also offers RFID-enabled baggage tags, linking luggagewith the flier’s flight info to ensure properhandling.)
TRANSIENT HOTELS3 GENERATION GOImage credit: Sleeping AroundThese days, it’s hotels that are on themove, not the guests. Transient, or pop-up, hotels offer affordable rooms in primespots or posh lodging near seasonal eventssuch as music festivals. Sleeping Around, aBelgian company, transforms 20-footshipping containers into luxury rooms andtransports them to cities around Europe.
TRAVEL BECOMES MORE INCLUSIVE3 GENERATION GOImage credit: Ovolo GroupAll-inclusive resorts where everything ispre-paid—activities, meals, tips, etc.—have existed for decades. But now theconcept is expanding to a wider variety oftravel options. The guiding idea istransparency: What you see is what youget, and it’s all included. Cruise lines,known for their pricey extras, are startingto include airfare and before- and after-cruise hotel stays in their prices, withRegent Seven Seas and Seabourn leadingthe charge. The rate at the new Ovolohotel in Melbourne, for example, includesminibar items, Wi-Fi, local calls andbreakfast.
VIP TREATMENT3 GENERATION GOImage credit: JeffMayshAs the middle market shrinks in thedeveloped world, more brands will findways to provide special service tocustomers with the means or themotivation to spend. VIP treatment isbecoming common at amusement parks,for example, with special access passesallowing purchasers to skip long lines.Independent airport lounges provide alittle extra comfort to travelers with anextra $15 to $50 to spend.
WOMEN-ONLY HOTEL FLOORS3 GENERATION GOImage credit: Naumi HotelWith more women traveling solo, many forbusiness, hotels from Vancouver andCopenhagen to Singapore and London arereviving women-only floors, an oldconcept once dismissed as sexist by thefeminist movement. These offer moresecurity—some hotels even require a keycard to access the floor—and add roomamenities like fashion magazines, hairtools (curling irons, flat irons) andadditional hangers. Some hotels alsoprovide female room attendants and offernetworking events.
APPENDIX:MORE ABOUT OUR EXPERTS/INFLUENCERSApril 2013Image credit: Jeanette Kramer